I met Nic at a roller disco party under the railway arches of London Bridge in October 2009. Within days of our first encounter we met again and hatched a plan to one day open a little cafe together. I had always been a pedlar of some sort and Nic was a pastry chef in some fancy restaurant in the East End with a pig for its logo.
It wasn’t long before we left our jobs determined to utilise our skills and go into business together. We started out as pedlars selling our wares from a stall at Camden Lock Market. I knew Nic had something special when tourists did an about turn as they walked away chomping on a valrhona chocolate brownie to give the thumbs up, amazed and delighted to find such high quality baking among other vendors like the vampire pizza stand or the pina-colada pineapple man.
Most of 2010 was spent baking for a growing band of loyal clients at Tatchbrook Street Market in Pimlico. We continued to live hand to mouth from our takings at the mercy of the elements and public holidays.
Nic strives for excellence in anything she does, valuing only the taste, crumb or bite and never pandering to style or gimmicks. She was obsessed with texture and flavour and the science in the making of sponges and cakes, brownies, bread and preserves, making everything we sold on the stall. Our clients loved it all but a market stall has a limited shop window and we had to find a product that we could wholesale.
From the off, our brownies were a hit and soon they were joined by croissants. We owe a thanks to Michel Roux, it was his pastry book which originally inspired Nic to develop her unique take on the croissant, the product that transformed the business and our lives. During the summer of 2010 we set about building the foundations of what made LBP what it is today. Nic honed her croissant method, we moved to a new kitchen near Tower Bridge, developed routes for our deli bicycle delivery service and invested in a fleet of Pashley deli bikes which are now synonymous with Little Bread Pedlar.
We worked night and day with the pastry, Nic learning and becoming an expert in the science, resulting in the LBP croissant that is loved today. Everyone enjoyed the new samples and as a result we gained significant contracts from well known coffee shops and restaurants. As the business grew, we moved into an old rundown warehouse unit on the Spa Terminus project site and for the next 4 years we worked long and hard - mostly 7 day weeks building a small but mighty business.
We always had the goal of eventually getting our own railway arch and wholesaling bread but when the offer from Spa came we found ourselves at a crossroads. Nic and I were a little exhausted, the personal sacrifices for the company had taken their toll and now we were contemplating calling it a day or facing what would amount to starting over again.
Adam Sellar, a knowledgable and talented head chef and highly respected baker was also a dear old friend of Nic’s from their days chefing together at the Old Bell Hotel in Hurley. We decided to see if Adam was interested in joining team LBP and taking the Pedlar to the next level. Adam happily accepted the offer and we accepted the move into our three beautiful railway arches, transforming them over the next year into a well equipped and well drilled wholesale bakery.
Adam has developed a range of breads, much the talk of the town and equaling what we had already achieved in the early days of pastry, making the Little Bread Pedlar a most formidable bakery of the highest quality.
We knew bread was going to be a challenge to move by pedal power but we tried hard. Reaching 6 bikes going out daily, pedlars tripping over each other, we soon agreed it just wasn’t sustainable. Our new 100% electric delivery vans revolutionised our delivery capacity but one bike route still remains essential to the fleet, navigating the rush hour to reach all the nooks and crannies to find the central London coffee shops that have always been our bread and butter.
What’s made us special from the start was Nic’s hard work, obsession and dedication to quality and producing the best, Adam also has the same philosophy, they are from the same school. This ethos, work ethic and knowledge remains always at our core and is passed down to our growing team of excellent bakers and pedlars as we strive to share our food with as many as we can throughout the streets of London.